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Thousands Of Local Voters Forced To Use “Provisional” Ballots In Last Week’s Elections

A woman fills out a "provisional" ballot (Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A woman fills out a “provisional” ballot (Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thousands of Philadelphia voters showed up at the polls last week, only to find their names were not on the official voting rolls. They all got to vote, but they had to cast “provisional” ballots thanks to the glitch.

“We had almost twice as many provisionals this election as in 2008,” City Commission co-chair Al Schmidt said.

Schmidt says more than 27,000 voters were forced to use the paper alternative to voting on a machine. He says one part of the problem is that more than one-third of polling places moved, as the result of a lawsuit, to locations that are handicapped accessible. Many voters went to the wrong polling place, as a result.

More troubling, he says, is the large number of voters whose names were not in the poll books.

“It’s somehow an issue between the department of state’s registration database and the printing of the poll books and we’re very interested to find out what occurred.”

Schmidt says no polling place ran out of provisional ballots. He also points out all the ballots from verified registered voters will be counted in the official results.